All pumpkins are squash, not all squash are pumpkins. Pumpkin generally describes winter squash, which are hard-skinned, hard-fleshed mature fruit. An annual crop, pumpkins are planted in spring and harvested in autumn and then stored in controlled environments to ensure there is a supply for your menus all year round.
In New Zealand pumpkins are very often roasted, but there is more to these golden fleshed orbs than a side to the Sunday roast. Naturally sweet with a silky texture, pumpkins naturally lend themselves to sweet dishes, and not just pumpkin pie. Pumpkin puree will add sweetness and moisture to dishes from crème brûlée through to muffins, cakes and sweet loaves, their flavour enhanced with spices like cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.
Roasting brings out the natural sweetness in pumpkins, and this can be balanced beautifully with sour notes from spices like sumac or sharp flavours from the likes of goats’ cheese or feta. Complement the sweetness with the likes of aged balsamic vinegar or pomegranate molasses or create a more savoury dish with hardy herbs like rosemary, thyme and sage.
Whether you’re going for a sweet or savoury profile, pumpkin works well added to salads with other roasted veg and nutty grains, cooked through risotto dishes or tossed in pasta. Make a luscious soup or a hearty veg curry, even pickle for something different.
With a hard, grey skin and rich orange flesh, the average crown pumpkin weighs 4kgs. The flesh is mild and sweet with a soft moist texture. Available all year round but most abundant February through to August.
A dark green, hard skin the supermarket squash looks similar to a buttercup squash although with a strong ribbed skin which can change from green to orangey with age. Weighing around 1.5kgs, the orange flesh is super sweet. With a great shelf life, it is often available during winter when other squash have finished.
A dark, rich green skin with speckles and stripes and a flesh that is light orange or dark yellow and mildly sweet in flavour. Weighing around 1.5kgs, buttercup squash’s softer skin means it has a shorter shelf life. Primarily grown in the Gisborne/Hawke’s Bay region and available autumn through to early winter.
This elongated pumpkin with a thin orange skin has its seeds concentrated at one end. Its shape and thin skin make a butternut easier to peel and cut while its flesh is creamy and sweet. Available from autumn through to early winter and imported from Tonga to supplement supply when possible.
With a pale yellow skin with light yellow flesh, the spaghetti squash is around 20–30cms long. Named after its unique flesh which, once baked or steamed, resembles that of pasta. Available in late summer/early autumn.
Stocky in shape with heavy ribbing. Immature kumi kumi are about the size of a tennis ball, have a nutty flavour, a speckled green soft skin with white-green flesh and are used like courgettes. Mature kumi kumi have a speckled green hard skin, are about the size of a netball, have a deep white flesh and are used like buttercup squash. Originally they were called kamo kamo by the Māori and were considered particularly good for the hāngi. They are available December to April.
Pumpkin prepping can cause injuries in the kitchen, not to mention how labour intensive it can be, and then after all the hard work the skin is thrown out! With our Prepared Produce options there is no waste and no preparation time (or injuries) required. Our most popular options are peeled, unpeeled portions, and diced.